By Neil Bennett | on March 27, 2000
Price: £599 plus VAT
Company: Digital Origin
It’s not that long ago in the world of non-linear video editing (NLE) that what we consider now to be the mid-range was the low-end, and the sub-£1,000 market was the realm of home-hobbyists. Now this has been turned on its head, and DV lets you to produce high-ish quality video for less than a week at Butlins. One of the first really inexpensive solutions for DV was Digital Origin’s EditDV. This combines an IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire) PCI board with proprietary capture-&-editing software that is both easy to use and powerful. It was also one of the first packages to be able to deal with every major camera manufacturer’s variant of DV (Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sony). EditDV is not alone in its market anymore. Every board manufacturer is now in this space, usually bundled with Adobe’s ubiquitous Premiere LE, and the £599 price doesn’t seem so cheap anymore when solutions like FAST’s DV.now retails for under £500. Unfortunately, the new features in EditDV 2.0 fail to inspire. There are new tools that almost seem irrelevant, necessary updates that just bring the product up-to-date, and even the good stuff makes you smile rather than beam. There is a glimmer of hope ahead, as some add-ons point to a better future incorporating ideas from Media 100 and Terran – but 2.0 seems a wasted update. First in the list of new features is support for QuickTime effects. The implementation is done well, and the controls for each effect are intuitively laid out and described (which is very useful, as Apple seems to have programmed no sense of continuity into each control’s attributes). Personally, I believe that QuickTime effects do have their time and place – but often that place is in the Recycle Bin. Standardized transitions, wipes and effects may keep files sizes down – but I don’t consider these effects as being high quality. Also, as soon as you go out of a QuickTime format (say, back onto tape or streamed on the Web in either of the most popular formats, RealMedia and Windows Media), the usefulness is gone. EditDV does include support for Web streaming – and it does this well. However, it can only compress materials into QuickTime streaming files – support for RealMedia and Windows Media files would have been more useful. Being a QuickTime-based product, creation of streaming media in this format is well done and it’s easy to tweak conversion to get a good data rate. Moving from the irrelevant to the merely workmanlike, new features like multi processor support, batch capture and the ability to export edit decision lists (EDLs) do make EditDV more productive – but not enough to inspire you to change from Premiere LE. The timeline interface has also been tweaked and a few improvements added (like clip linking and roll/ripple editing), but this seems like nothing to email home about. Version 2.0 of EditDV seems like a hastily cobbled together collection of updates that just about justify a .5 upgrade – not a full version jump. This is a shame because EditDV is still a fine product. For ease of installation and use, for the sheer speed of productivity it gives you, and for the almost bug-free coherence that using a software and hardware combination developed from scratch by the same manufacturer offers – it’s hard to beat. EditDV still offers everything you need to effectively and efficiently create good-quality media on a budget. It’s easy for newcomers to learn and its idiosyncrasies are relatively easy for long-term editors to pick up, easier than Speed Razor’s for example. The companion products are standard but effective – and include new versions of SoundForge XP 4.5 for audio editing, the Pixélan SpiceRack effects bundle and Photoshop LE, but also Digital Origin’s PhotoDV still-capture software. These products have updates that are worthwhile – it’s just a shame that EditDV’s isn’t.